It’s water … but not as we know it

Think glaciers. Think ice skaters. Think movement. Think water. A thin layer of water allows the glacier to slide or the ice skater to skate. But it may not be water a we know it ..... ..... It is thought that this lubricating water is in fact super dense - up to 17% more dense an 'unbelievable' amount according to the head of the research team making this claim. Experiments have shown that this liquid is present at temperatures up to -17 oC. ...

A Space Ocean

Comet Hartley 2 has been thrust into the limelight during the last couple of weeks after a report on it published by Nature. The comet has caused a bit of a problem for NASA scientists. And the problem .... Well, the water it contains is more like Earth's water than water on other comets. The problem is deuterium, the heavier isotope of hydrogen. The handful (six or so) of comets that have had their water content analysed seem to have twice as much deuterium. ...

Combustion kept simple

When teaching about combustion, we must remember to consider 'complete' and 'incomplete' combustion. During complete combustion, the fuel will produce CO2 and H2O. Incomplete combustion produces CO or C (soot). A neat way of showing this to your class is to just use a bunsen burner. With the air hole closed, explain that the smoky, yellow flame is caused by incomplete combustion - the soot can be collected by placing a cool beaker of water under the flame. Opening the air hole allows complete ...

Water (3)

Yesterday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year is ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: 'What causes water to have a much higher boiling point than expected?' And the answer ...... Well, it is the hydrogen bond - the same intermolecular bond that holds your DNA together. How does this (relatively) strong bond come to exist? What causes it? Where ...

Liquid water at 400oC?

  How do you get water to 400 oC? Brocken Inaglory [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsEasy, you superheat it... Superheated water is found naturally on the earth in underground water supplies - we see it coming to the surface as a geyser. It is also found in man made phenomena such as power stations. But how is it superheated? The key ingredient is Pressure. The pressure stops the water boiling and keeps it liquid - if the pressure is ...

Clean Water From Nature

  In the West we turn on the tap and get pure, clean drinking water. However, approximately 1.1 billion people in rural and peri-urban communities of developing countries do not have access to safe drinking water. The mortality from diarrhoea-related diseases amounts to approx 2.2 million people each year from the consumption of unsafe water.1 That is one person every twelve minutes... Michael Lea (whom I cannot find out much about on the internet) has published a paper (click here for the ...

Energy on the Moon?

  Lets make an assumption (a dangerous thing, I know!). Man has built a Moon base. Where will the power come from?   Transporting fuel to the moon is not cost effective. Solar panels? Well, they need to be transported there as well and a lunar night lasts fourteen days! How about….. A thermo-chemical storage solution? The moons surface has plenty of calcium oxide. This could be combined with water to make calcium hydroxide. CaO + H2O ⇆ Ca (OH)2 The standard enthalpy change for this reaction ...

Water (H2O)

  The wonders of Water:   We survive because of water - no surprises there - and we all know of lots of ways in which water is essential for life but did you know ...... ..... that water is responsible for warming the planet?   Without water vapour in the atmosphere (where it makes up only a maximum of 4% of the atmosphere) , the earth would have an average temperature of - 20 oC, instead of +15 oC as water is the most important ...